There are more rattlesnake sightings this year over last year.
A Rancho Peñasquitos couple found a red diamond rattler in their backyard this week and called county animal services for help.
Animal control officer Joni Palumbo says the snake was about four feet long, the longest she'd ever handled.
She took to a nearby canyon and released it.
Since January, County Animal Services has responded to 276 rattlesnake calls.
That is about 50 more than the same time period last year.
To avoid encounters with rattlesnakes, the Department of Animal Services suggests these steps:
- Wear sturdy hiking boots with ankle support so that your feet are protected.
- Stay on paths and trails. Avoid tall grass, weeds and brush where snakes may hide.
- Keep your dog on leash while hiking and be aware of what your dog is doing at all times.
- Make sure you can see where you are reaching and that you can see ahead of you. Look for concealed snakes before picking up rocks, sticks or wood.
- Consider bringing a walking stick while hiking. If you encounter a snake it may strike the stick instead of you or your pet.
- Give rattlesnakes the right-of-way.
- If you live in an area where rattlesnakes have been found, check your yard before letting your pets and children out to play.
The County encourages people to remove potential food or shelter for rattlesnakes from their properties. Make sure you don’t have mice or rats and get rid of wood piles or garbage heaps that can make excellent hiding spots for snakes.
If you are so unfortunate as to be bitten, here are some TIPS
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